We shall overcome

We shall overcome

And Heal thyself

I have been in a search for yet another self help book to shore up the flagging spirits. I find I simply can't engage with a book that has the word. OVERCOMING in the title.

They are numerous and what's more depressing is the NHS recommends them. You can get them on prescription apparently.

Overcoming depression.

Overcoming pain. To quote but two.

To throw the word Overcome at me signals that i should be victorious. Really? Now I have done the training on the Pain Management Course. I have tired my upmost to out manoeuvre and pre empt the body beautiful agenda and move to that zen like state of acceptance that is recommended. But no one mentioned. That I could Overcome. Surely to overcome I must first fight a battle and win. Anyone who suggests that I haven't put up a good fight should proceed with caution upon a approach. I may not be victorious but I stings like a bee.

Now I find that I obviously haven't tried hard enough or I would have overcome all and have the perfect well behaved mind body and whippet.

How utterly depressing.

Try try and try again to overcome. I simply haven't got the energy.

I spent it all getting cross over a word. My own faulted course.

14 Replies

  • Ha! I, too, have wrestled with the "acceptance" or "fight against it with everything you've got" dilemma. I naturally veer towards the latter. It seems a popular opinion that when you accept pain as a constant in your life, you can stop ‘fighting’ it and learn to manage it, allowing you to focus on other things. I think this theory MAY come from those people you mentioned that should approach with caution!

    A thought that often crosses my mind when I read about people describing their life living with pain is that they (and probably, I) should give themselves a break.

    Really? You can get these books on prescription? NHS money would be better spent on research and education about pain?!

    Best of luck :)

  • Books on prescription


    Thanks for replying. When I went on the Pain Management course I was under the illusion that it could be managed away, once I got over the disappointment the course proved helpful.

    Managing is not the same as overcome.

    Management is a much more friendly word and doesn't raise my hackles one bit.

  • If you don't mind me asking.. what causes your pain? and was the Pain Management course prescribed or something you found yourself? I'm fascinated by the idea of a course!!

  • I was referred by the pain clinic.

    I think different hospitals offer similar courses.

    It was not a cure all. Didn't help a jot with pain but helped me get my head around it. Plus I met some lovely people who understood.


  • Oh if it was only that easy eh! But in suggesting we can overcome our pain is setting us up for failure which can make us feel even worse about ourselves.

    The most helpful thing I've done for myself recently, in terms of my back pain and my depression, is to go on a mindfulness course. Mindfulness does not teach you to try and overcome anything. Paradoxically, it teaches you to pay more attention to your pain and to see it almost with fresh eyes and curiosity. It teaches you to engage with your pain and learn to relate to it in a different way and importantly to have compassion for yourself.

    It's very difficult to explain in a few sentences, but all I would say is please be open-minded and look into it. I was skeptical to begin with but there is plenty of scientific evidence to back up the benefits of mindfulness. There are books on Amazon about mindfulness and mindfulness and pain, but I suggest it's best if you can find a local course first to give you a good grounding in the practice.

  • I am already a convert to mindfulness. I came across a book at the pain clinic. The most helpful thing I use is concentrating on the breath. I must admit that I have let it slip lately. It's the sort of thing that needs constant nurturing to get the best out of it, thanks for reminding me.

  • Very interesting ovservation. I have been on a pain management course too (2x 2hr session). Its only trying to help you to come to terms with our condition and to encourage us start learn everything from scratch again. I think overcomming is bullsh*t, i have nevet met anyone or heard they miraculously recover. Its about trying to accept it, and finding new ways of managing to get through each day , but also to try and have fun and enjoy life when it doesnt overtake. Not easy! Most importantly its about letting out the frustration and anger that is natural, its pointless pretending we accept it just like this and all is great. Its a huge amount of stress on the body daily for which our system is not build for. I use cycling and yoga as an outlet - and set myselfs goals that help me realise I can do things, albeit with adaptations. But it cleanses the mind every day and sends happy signals around. Its a good way to distract from the chronic pain.

  • I was hoping said book would offer new ways of getting through the day. But couldn't even open it. May we all find new ways to send "happy signals" zipping through our systems.


  • There is nothing to overcome. There is only time taken to adjust to the bereavement of losing much of what you value. This has it own time scale with its own rules.

    Pain is exhausting and can leave the brain worn out. You need to experiment with yourself regarding your sleep regime. Handing pain means spending energy monitoring the body. This excess energy usage leaves the brain needing to shut down on occasion. You need to learn to balance this shutdown with your everyday activities.

    A person who is healthy and has no pain does not need to speed excess energy monitoring the body.

    Hope this helps.

  • I wholeheartedly agree! That "Overcoming" book sat on my bookshelf for a while before I read it (it wasn't too bad in the end). I have recently had reason to visit the self-help section of the library again and have a real aversion to any books with that in the title.

    In fact any book with "beating" or "overcoming" in the title gets instantly rejected. Any overly-cheerful titled book goes the same way. It just feels a bit jolly-hockey-sticks, and suggests that if we suck it up and just pull ourselves together we will be fine.

    "Living with" is better, although not perfect as we're all living with it anyway.

    "Managing" is OK. Maybe "Muddling Along And Not Doing So Bad After All" might work?

    If you want a good pain book to read I can recommend "The Pain Chronicles" by Melanie Thurmstrom. She has chronic pain herself , so in amongst the interesting facts she tells her own story of her pain, and those of people she met in pain clinics in the US. The book doesn't try to give you any tips for living with pain but I felt it helped me to understand the attitudes of other people, and it was refreshing to read something by someone who was on my side.

    Patrick Wall's book on pain also had that empathetic tone. I forget the title though.

  • Re The Pain Crhonicles. Someone on here recommended ages ago. It could have been you. I got it from the library was so impressed I brought my own. couldn't agree more. It's rare that you feel someone is on your side.

  • Whoops that I wasn't quite finished. I certainly don't respond to the jolly hockey sticks approach. It's an insult. I does my best and if I could pull myself together I would. I am held together with cello tape. Which if you have had reason to use with 4 year olds you will know it hasn't got the stick it had a few years ago. It's hopeless. But you can construct some marvellous temporary works of art. Although you can't be too ambitious.

    Hope things are ok with you. I seem to have missed you as I haven't seen you around lately. I still remember that poem you posted brilliant.

  • It probably was me who recommended the pain chronicles.

    I stopped coming on here because I was a lot better. Then the rest of my life got complicated and I inherited a black dog. Now that that's improving, the pain is making its presence felt again. Such is life.

  • Try not to fight with your pain. If you can, and this is a big IF - try to observe the pain

    and let it be what it is. You can't run from it and you can't hide from it. Accept that

    this is a way of life for you and many other people. Its unpleasant and much of life is.

    When we try to make something into something else or wish it to be as we would

    like it, we suffer lots more.

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